When Diamond Platnumz was 17, he worked odd jobs selling secondhand clothing and pumping gas to try to save up money to book a recording session, but it wasn’t enough. Eventually the singer, born Naseeb Abdul Juma Issack, sold his mother’s gold ring. “I told her I lost it in the bathroom — that it fell down the toilet,” says the now 31-year-old, calling from his home in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The single from that studio session, “Toka Mwanzo,” which hinted at the R&B stylings he hadn’t yet developed, didn’t take off. But the session did lead Diamond to his first manager, who paid for more studio time. In 2010, he released what became his breakthrough song, “Kamwambie,” which led to three major wins at the Tanzania Music Awards, and soon after, Diamond released his debut album of the same name.